Is the title of today's Inspirational message.
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When he was a little boy his uncle called him
“Sparky”, after a comic-strip horse named Spark
Plug. School was all but impossible for Sparky.
He failed every subject in the eighth grade. He
flunked physics in high school, getting a grade of
zero. He also flunked Latin, algebra and English.
And his record in sports wasn’t any better.
Though he did manage to make the school’s golf
team, he promptly lost the only important match of
the season. Oh, there was a consolation match; he
lost that too.
Throughout his youth, Sparky was awkward
socially. It wasn’t that the other students disliked
him; it’s just that no one really cared all that
much. In fact, Sparky was astonished if a
classmate ever said hello to him outside of school
hours. There’s no way to tell how he might have
done at dating. He never once asked a girl out in
high school. He was too afraid of being turned
down… or perhaps laughed at. Sparky was a loser.
He, his classmates… everyone knew it. So he
learned to live with it. He made up his mind early
that if things were meant to work out, they would.
Otherwise he would content himself with what
appeared to be his inevitable mediocrity.
One thing WAS important to Sparky, however —
drawing. He was proud of his artwork. No one else
appreciated it. But that didn’t seem to matter to
him. In his senior year of high school, he
submitted some cartoons to the the yearbook. The
editors rejected the concept. Despite this brush-
off, Sparky was convinced of his ability. He even
decided to become an artist.
So, after completing high school, Sparky wrote
Walt Disney Studios. They asked for samples of
his artwork. Despite careful preparation, it too was
rejected. One more confirmation that he was a
But Sparky still didn’t give up. Instead, he decided
to tell his own life’s story in cartoons. The main
character would be a little boy who symbolized the
perpetual loser and chronic underachiever. You
know him well. Because Sparky’s cartoon
character went on to become a cultural
phenomenon of sorts. People readily identified with
this “lovable loser.” He reminded people of the
painful and embarrassing moments from their own
past, of their pain and their shared humanity. The
character soon became famous worldwide: “Charlie
Brown.” And Sparky, the boy whose many failures
never kept him from trying, whose work was
rejected again and again,… is the highly
successful cartoonist Charles Schultz. His cartoon
strip, “Peanuts,” continues to inspire books, T-
shirts and Christmas specials, reminding us, as
someone once commented, that life somehow
finds a way for all of us, even the losers.
Sparky’s story reminds us of a very important
principle in life. We all face difficulty and
discouragement from time to time. We also have a
choice in how we handle it. If we’re persistent, if
we hold fast to our faith, if we continue to develop
the unique talents God has given us, who knows
what can happen? We may end up with an insight
and an ability to inspire that comes only through
hardship. In the end, there are no “losers” with
God. Some winners just take longer to develop!
By CAPT J. David Atwater, CHC, USA